Gaza: Caritas works with survivors of massive sewage flood

 Last Tuesday, 27 March at 9am, a huge holding pond of sewage burst flooding the Bedouin village of Um An-Nasir in the northern Gaza Strip. The village sits right next to the sewage pond. The flood of sewage caused massive damage. Six people are reported dead and many others are unaccounted for or injured. More than 5,000 people live in this area; most of them have evacuated their homes due to the presence of the contaminated water. The situation there is devastating. We have observed already needy Bedouin families evacuating their inundated homes. Former residents are standing hopelessly looking at their village from a nearby hill and do not know what to do next. Caritas Jerusalem is one of many organizations working in the area undertaking activities to help. Each organization has a tent to carry out their work. The Caritas tent number is 104. Caritas Jerusalem Mobile Medical Clinic launched a health campaign to the people who became homeless in the affected area. The activities of the campaign included medical check ups and disseminating medicines to sick people. Our health team conducted medical screening for 39 patients in one day and distributed 56 prescriptions for people from the area. In addition, through our medical center in Gaza, we will provide 250 parcels of hygiene supplies, which The Caritas Jerusalem tent (among others in the area) reaching out to the affected people. Caritas is supplying detergents and cooking items for needy people who lost their homes and are living in tents. Dr Bandali El Sayegh, the medical director of Gaza Health Center, said that the area needs support, especially for the people who will spend the coming days outside of their homes until a solution for them is reached. Most of the humanitarian organizations working in Gaza have reacted in response to the disaster. However, it became clear that the most important factor is the pollution and ongoing environmental problem, which will have to be dealt with in the future. As a clearer picture of the situation develops in the coming days and following a careful assessment of the situation by all of the parties working in the area, additional interventions will take place according to individual organizational capacities, abilities and expertise. In spite of this disaster, it was a miracle that it took place during daytime when most people were awake, men are at work, and children are at schools. If the sewage flood occurred during the night, many more victims would be in evidence with many more than six dead and tens of injured. Source: Caritas Jerusalem

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